Apple working on upcoming OS X 10.9.1 bug fix, attaches “Syrah” code name to OS X 10.10 project

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

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This is just how quickly software development moves.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has apparently dubbed its future OS X 10.10 operating system “Syrah” (a type of wine), which they’ve begun seeding to Apple employees for internal testing as of early September.

While it’s been reported that Apple is targeting a redesign of the OS X interface to mimic iOS 7′s new look for OS X 10.10, the current nightly builds are said to be nearly identical to the Golden Master version of OS X Mavericks. It’s unlikely that 10.10 seeds will gain new user-facing features or interface elements until well into development. Apple software engineering teams typically work on several projects independently, then pull them in all-together into the new operating system ahead of seed milestones.

Emphasizing the fact that OS X 10.10 is still very early in development is its current build number. It’s been said that OS X 10.10 has seen approximately 30 seeds so far in development. For comparison, the first OS X Mavericks Developer Preview was build 476, while the first OS X Mountain Lion and Lion Previews were build numbers in the 100s range and 400s range, respectively. Nonetheless, it is likely that Apple is targeting a release of OS X 10.10 for sometime in 2014.

As OS X Mavericks moved to Golden Master status (the state in which the OS is ready to ship and/or be installed on new Macs), Apple moved a fair portion of its Mac software engineering resources onto its OS X 10.10 project. Other people on the team, however, are said to be working on updates to the OS X 10.9 Mavericks track. Apple is said to already be closing in on a point-release update (OS X 10.9.1) to Mavericks with bug fixes and perhaps the ability to block iMessages and FaceTime calls from certain users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to announce Q4 2013 earnings on October 28th

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 06:55
Category: Finance, News

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The financial results are coming.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that it will release its fourth fiscal quarter results immediately following the close of the stock market on October 28.

The results, which cover the company’s operations from July through September, will include the first full week of sales for the company’s sales record-breaking iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

As usual, Apple will conduct a conference call to discuss the financial results on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET. In the last quarterly call, Apple reported earnings of US$6.9 billion on sales of 31.2 million iPhones, 14.6 million iPads, and 3.8 million Macs. That quarter saw Apple doing US$35.4 billion in total revenue.

The forthcoming call will likely give investors and tech industry observers some notion of just how well Apple’s newest iPhones are doing. The devices sold nine million units in just their first three days of availability, and investors will be eager to see how that may impact Apple’s bottom line. The new iPhones, though, were only on sale for the last ten days of the quarter, and their true impact may not be fully felt until Apple’s Q1 FY14 reporting.

Apple, though, did appear encouraged by the performance of its newest handsets. Following the launch weekend for the iPhone 5s and 5c, Apple revised its earnings guidance upward. The company expects its earnings to be near the high end of its previously provided range of US$34 to US$37 billion. It also believes its gross margin will fall at the higher end of its previous range of between 36 and 37 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.9

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:02
Category: News, Software

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SpamSieve’s about ready for Mavericks.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.9. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- SpamSieve is now compatible with the GM build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It is recommended that you update to SpamSieve 2.9.9 before installing Mavericks. If you’ve updated to Mavericks first, and you don’t see the SpamSieve commands in Apple Mail’s Message menu, be sure to choose Install Apple Mail Plug-In from the SpamSieve menu.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- Microsoft Outlook 2011’s notification sounds are now available in SpamSieve’s Notification preferences.

- Added the Apple Mail – Server Junk Mailbox script. When it’s not possible to turn off a server-side junk filter (e.g., iCloud’s), this lets SpamSieve save you from mistakes that the server junk filter made by moving any messages that SpamSieve thinks are good back to the inbox. It will also consolidate the spam messages from all the accounts into a single spam mailbox (the same one where SpamSieve is already putting your spam).

- Can now repair the ownership and permissions of the SpamSieve and Apple Mail preferences files if needed. This fixes problems where SpamSieve would lose its registration information or Apple Mail wouldn’t show the SpamSieve menu commands.

- Fixed some problems where the Open Window command in Apple Mail was not available or did not always open the specified window.

SpamSieve 2.9.9 retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sees pay cut as result of poor Windows 8, Surface tablet marketplace performance

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:54
Category: News

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This is pretty much unparalleled.

Or at least it’s a decent case of schadenfreude.

Per CNET, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer saw his pay docked this year as a result of the disappointing performance of the company’s Windows Division over the past year.

The Microsoft head received US$1.26 million in compensation for fiscal 2013, with US$697,500 of that in base salary and US$550,000 in bonuses. Ballmer’s “incentive plan award” for 2013, which is calculated by the Microsoft board, was only 79 percent of the total he could have gotten, while in 2012, the Microsoft chief received 91 percent of his eligible incentive award.

The reason for the pay dock: the continuing poor sales of devices running Windows 8 the spectacular failure of the company’s Surface RT device. Microsoft’s latest operating system has underperformed since its launch, and the firm’s fiscal 2013 proxy statement points to those shortcomings.

The report cites “weakness in the consumer PC market,” a continuing issue for Microsoft as consumers increasingly turn away from traditional PC form factors in favor of smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. Microsoft has sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses since the platform’s launch, but that is well below what the company had expected.

Adding to the Windows Division’s woes, the Surface RT device Microsoft rolled out last year met with middling reviews and virtually nonexistent consumer demand. Microsoft eventually wrote down US$900 million worth of unsold inventory. The company has since shown off new versions of its tablet devices, but the poor performance of the last generation still dragged on Ballmer’s compensation.

All told, the sales woes for the PC market and product launch costs for Windows 8 and Surface resulted in an 18 percent decline in Windows Division operating income.

The report is not entirely negative regarding Ballmer, as it notes that “the Committee and Board believe Mr. Ballmer is underpaid for his role and performance.” That feeling, though, was insufficient to earn the Microsoft chief his full incentive payment. A number of other Microsoft managers received 100 percent of their incentive payments, including COO Kevin Turner and CFO Amy Hood. The head of the Servers and Tools unit received 105 percent of his eligible award, as that division pulled in more than US$7 billion.

Ballmer shocked the tech world some weeks ago by announcing that he will leave Microsoft within the next year, and the company’s search for a successor is ongoing.

RadioShack, Walmart, Best Buy all offering iPhone 5c at $50 discount

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 07:40
Category: iPhone, News, retail

No one ever said price-based competition was a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, following a move by big box retailer Best Buy, RadioShack and Walmart have announced they too will be slashing prices on Apple’s mid-range iPhone, the iPhone 5c, putting the on-contract price for the device at or below US$50.

The two retailers revealed their discount prices for the iPhone 5c on Friday, with RadioShack announcing that it will begin matching Best Buy’s iPhone 5c deal on Saturday. In-store iPhone 5c purchasers will be able to get a US$50 gift card applicable toward the purchase of their device. For an on-contract 5c, that will bring the cost to US$50. RadioShack’s promotion will run through November 2.


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Meanwhile, Walmart has announced that its already discounted iPhone 5c will now sell for US$45. In dropping the price to US$45, Walmart has knocked nearly 50 percent off of an on-contract price that was already US$20 lower than the cost to purchase the phone through Apple and most other outlets.

Friday’s announcements mean the polycarbonate-backed iPhone 5c is now available for US$50 or less at three retailers: Best Buy, RadioShack, and Walmart. Customers taking advantage of those deals are still eligible to participate in the iPhone trade-in programs available at all three chains, earning up to $300 in store credit for an older model iPhone. The trade-in initiative is only available in select locations.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Skype for iPhone, iPad updated to 4.13, receives iOS 7 UI overhaul, other fixes

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 07:51
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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On Monday, Skype released version 4.10 of its iOS app.

According to 9to5Mac, the new version includes the following fixes and changes:
- Refreshed look and feel for iOS 7.

Accessibility improvements, including:
- Improved accessibility of dialpad with touchtype support.

- VoiceOver announces the senders name when messaging.

- VoiceOver improvements for group chats.

- General fixes

The update, available as a free download from iTunes, requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run and is suitable for all iPhones from the 3GS onward as well as all iPads and iPod Touches from 3rd Gen up.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” Golden Master to developer community

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:16
Category: News, Software

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Mavericks could be just around the corner.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, just hours after releasing the first build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks without a “Developer Preview” label to AppleSeed members, Apple has issued the official “Golden Master” version of OS X 10.9 Mavericks to all developers.

A Golden Master build is the same, official version of software that will be released to customers. The fact that Apple has released the GM build to developers almost guarantees users will see the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks sometime this month. OS X 10.9 Mavericks will introduce over 200 new features, notably iBooks for Mac, Maps for Mac, tabbed Finder, iCloud Keychain, Tags, and more.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe announces security breach, says 2.9 million customer accounts, encrypted credit and debit card data stolen

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:43
Category: News, security

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You might want to check in with Adobe on this…

Per AppleInsider, Adobe on Thursday confirmed that malicious parties had compromised its networks and potentially gleaned credit card and other personal information from the accounts of nearly three million users.

The company revealed the breach in a post to its official blog. Adobe’s security team recently discovered a number of “sophisticated attacks” on its network, with some of those attacks targeting customer information and source code for several Adobe products.

In all, the attackers are believed to have stolen information on 2.9 million Adobe account holders. That data includes customer names, encrypted credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other customer order information. Adobe does not believe that decrypted credit or debit card numbers were removed from the network.

Adobe has contacted federal law enforcement for help in the investigation and is resetting passwords for affected accounts in order to prevent further unauthorized access. Owners of affected Adobe ID accounts will receive an email notification from Adobe with information on how to change their passwords.

The company also recommends that account holders affected by the attack change their passwords on any website where they may have signed up with the same login credentials.

On its end, Adobe has spread news of the breach to banks that process its payments, and is coordinating with payment card companies and card-issuing institutions to help protect customers’ accounts. In addition, the company is extending a free one-year credit monitoring membership to those customers whose information was compromised.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 30.0.1599.69

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:49
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a decent update.

On Thursday, Google released version 30.0.1599.69 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 53.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- [Fix] Tabs freeze up (Issue: 303293).

- [Fix] Lag in some games/GPU issues with certain monitors (Issue: 262437).

Google Chrome 30.0.1599.69 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple confirms purchase of Cue, has yet to disclose final sale price

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:04
Category: Finance, News, Software

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It’s hard to say exactly WHAT Apple will do with Cue, but there’s some interesting possibilities.

Per AppleInsider and TechCrunch, Apple is said to have purchased Cue, a startup company behind a personal assistant app for iPhone which shut down just this week.

An anonymous source claimed on Thursday that Apple is buying Cue, which was formerly known as Greplin, for between US$50 million and US$60 million. The startup was a Y Combinator venture capital alumnus that reportedly obtained funding from both Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

The source shared that although Cue never disclosed their latest funding round, the company allegedly raised US$10 million from Index Ventures. The information provided could not be independently verified, and Apple declined to comment.

As of Thursday, Apple affirmed the acquisition, but as usual declined to offer specifics. Cue’s functionality was much like that of Google Now or Apple’s new iOS 7 contextual notifications, though it debuted before both of those services.

Cue announced to its users on Tuesday that the service is shutting down and is no longer available. Cue Premium users who bought a paid subscription, either through official iOS app or the company’s website, will receive a prorated refund.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you,” the company said. “It’s been an incredible journey that wouldn’t have been possible without your loyal support.”

Cue’s functionality was much like that of Google Now or Apple’s new iOS 7 contextual notifications, though it debuted before both of those services.

Originally founded as “Greplin”, the company would index content from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as pulling data from Gmail. For example, a single search for “Jim” would surface contacts from the user’s LinkedIn account, emails from Gmail, and documents from Dropbox.

The company transitioned in 2012 to become Cue, and offered a personal assistant application for Apple’s iOS that would automatically turn data such as flight or restaurant reservations into a daily agenda. Cue would accomplish this by collating and indexing a user’s contacts, files, and emails, then display important and timely information. The company was founded by entrepreneurs Daniel Gross and Robby Walker.

Cue was formerly run by Greg McAdoo, who was also previously associated with Bump, a company acquired by Google earlier this year for at least US$30 million. McAdoo has since moved on to become a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital.

There’s no word as to how Apple will incorporate Cue’s technologies, but it’s another part of the company’s arsenal for somewhere down the road.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.